Posts Tagged ‘Rock N Roll’
By: Maria Ciezak
MARIA CIEZAK: You guys are one of my/New Jersey’s best-kept secrets. For future fans, can you provide us with a brief background story? How did you all come together?
TREVOR NEWCOMB of ONLY LIVING BOY: First off, thanks for doing this interview with us. We really don’t want to be a secret, so we appreciate it. The first time we played on stage together was probably in the 6th grade. We kept playing and learning together and we went on to graduate high school together. In 2006, we formed Rabid Roy with the intension of “making it.” Rabid Roy became OLB after a couple of tough years and one bad record contract. Since the formation of OLB, we’ve independently toured most of the country, put out a few full-lengths and several singles and EPs… You know, trucking.
MC: Now I am assuming the band is named after the Paul Simon song? Are you guys mega fans?
OLB: We all love us some Paul Simon but the name is just a coincidence. We needed a name for the band and after several months of tossing around terrible ideas, Paul Simon’s Only Living Boy in New York came on the radio while we were on our way to a jam. The rest is history.
MC: You just released a new EP entitled Cool Collected Headcase, and it’s been getting a ton of buzz. I know you worked with Paul Ritchie from The Parlor Mob in the past. Where was this recording done?
OLB: We plan on working with Paul again; he’s the shit. This time around, we got the opportunity to work with Billy Perez at SST Studio in Weehawken. SST isn’t on a lot of people’s radar, but I suppose that’s purposeful. To put is plainly, SST is the most incredible studio we’ve sat foot in. Throughout the years, as some of the big analog studios in NYC closed, SST acquired their gear. So it’s packed with incredible recording equipment and a ton of history. It’s in an amazing space – huge rooms, huge ceilings etc. They’ve hosted some ultra big acts. Everyone from the Crows to Nirvana to Sabbath has done something there. It’s crazy.
MC: Who does most of the writing? Is it a group effort?
OLB: Joe is the core writer, but once the rest of us get involved with his ideas you never know where the song is going to go.
MC: What comes first? The music or the lyrics?
OLB: One thing’s for sure, Joe writes 99% of the lyrics. He has books/journals of lyrics and ideas. I think some of his lyrics are done first and then it hangs around until the right song comes together, but most of the time it’s music, then lyrics.
MC: How do you keep yourselves so original in such a mainstream day and age? Do you even think about it?
OLB: Oh, certainly it’s best not to think of it. We just do us. We just try to maintain some sort of edginess and rawness. And of course, we try to record and perform with energy and power. And I suppose if there’s one benefit of being a trio, it’s the fact that there isn’t a lot of them out there and there’s way fewer that sound anything like us. I know lately we’ve been getting a lot of QOTSA comparisons and that’s cool, but I can tell you, with all honesty, we got that 5-6 years ago before we ever even knew of them. We are sponges. We absorb influences all the time. Everything we hear. It’s true.
MC: Your live set is something that everyone must experience. How do you determine a set list for each show? Does it require much catering to certain venues?
OLB: Thanks. We usually write out a set and then do some improving once we get going. And we don’t mind taking risks. We’ll play new songs or old songs that may or may not be ready for the stage. I think risk-taking is something that is important with rock. We aren’t afraid to push the envelope. We aren’t afraid to fuck up. When I see other bands perform with that attitude, and they pull it off, I think it’s exciting. Like watching a stuntman almost wreck.
We really try not to cater sets for anything, but inevitably we tend to play louder and harder at bigger places. Also, sometimes we play acoustic; we can do more than rock at 115db.
MC: Any tours coming up in the near future?
OLB: Hell yeah. As Lemmy from Motörhead says: “You’re not a real band if you don’t tour.” We’re heading out in July for a couple weeks, working our way out to the Roots Rock & Deep Blues Festival in Minneapolis, where we will join our good buds in Poverty Hash (their lead man, Joe Roberto plays harmonica on our track Spread Your Butter). Also, we’ll have to hit some college circuits in the fall. Lately, we’re looking for some good bands to hit the road with. It’s always more productive and fun that way.
MC: If you could place yourself on tour with any artist, who would it be and why?
OLB: We’d love to go out on the road with any band that rocks and can help us get in front of more people. Top pick: Queens of the Stone Age. Or any Dave Grohl or Josh Homme project. Those guys are the top dogs in rock, as far as I’m concerned.
MC: How much material is there in the Only Living Boy vault? Are there a lot that don’t make the record?
OLB: So much material. Between his solo stuff and the OLB stuff, that Joe Cirotti is a writing machine. Currently, we’re working on songs for the record that’s coming out after our next record. So we’re like three albums ahead already. We constantly write and record demos. Many of them don’t make it to the albums or haven’t yet. Many of them we still play live.
MC: What is the ultimate goal for Only Living Boy? The music business is so different these days. Is getting a record deal somewhat of a priority?
OLB: Good question…
Every time I feel like I have a grip on the biz, I realize I have only the benefits of my own successes/mistakes to reflect on; otherwise, I’m half guessing just like everybody else who is short on investors.
Having a career is our ultimate goal. I would be satisfied being a lower-middle class full-time musician. However, we’re not looking to sell ourselves short. I think another equally important goal is to share our music with as many people as possible. So some combination of that: a career and maximum exposure. That’s my pragmatist stance.
Now, a record deal? That means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. And it doesn’t always involve the combination of exposure AND career that we are looking for. That being said, we will be looking for some sort of “deal” over the next few months, however, in the mean time, we won’t stop outing our music by ourselves.
MC: Now that you guys have made quite the name for yourselves in the Tri-state area, if you could have done anything differently, would you?
OLB: I spent most of my twenties traveling the country playing honest music with my two best friends – I’m pretty lucky. So I don’t have too many regrets.
One thing though, if you’re in a band and you’re thinking about signing to a label or some other business arrangement, consider who it is that represents you and what they have to gain/loose from the process. Sometimes it seems like someone is fighting for you when, really, they’re only worried about themselves or they may be too short-sighted to give two shits about how your career goes in the long term.
MC: What advice do you have for bands just starting out?
OLB: When pursuing your art, patience is the key and so is being yourself. That is, unless you’re ok with being a tool.
MC: Five words why people should listen to Only Living Boy.
OLB: Real rock and roll lives on…
By: Rob Brayl
Band to watch!
Check out Berlin-based Abby, a 4-piece indie rock band that’s creating some serious chill vibes with their new song Evelyn. There’s something familiar + nostalgic about this track that I’m totally into. It also helps that it comes backed with a video treatment that presents the group as cool/fun-loving dudes.
It’s mellow music that’s perfect for a convertible drop top or headphones on the train/plane… The kind of jam that’s perfect for a little daydreaming contemplation.
Watch the just-released video for Evelyn below!
By: Maria Ciezak
MARIA CIEZAK: For those who are unfamiliar with Kid Felix, how would you describe your sound?
KID FELIX: It’s a mix of grunge and modern alternative, with some indie grooves.
MC: You guys are about to hit your two year anniversary as a band. You have done more in that short time than many do in their whole career. How has the ride been?
KF: It has definitely been challenging, but it’s also been really fun. We’ve gotten to meet people and do things that we never expected to do in such a short time. We’ve even got to play with some artist that we’ve always been fans of.
MC: You just recently got to play with some pretty incredible bands including Alice In Chains and Soundgarden. How did this all come about?
KF: Jaxon from 93.3 WMMR happened to see us at a show in Philly and made us one of his Artists of the Month. As we kept on working, more and more of the DJ’s at WMMR started getting behind us. Through them we got a few shows, all growing in size, until one day we got the call asking us to open up their MMRBQ with Device, Buckcherry, Cheap Trick, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden. We, of course, said yes!
MC: Kid Felix is really dominating the New Jersey music scene. Do you feel like you’re starting to branch out into different areas more and more?
KF: Slowly. We haven’t really toured yet, but through the bigger shows that we have played, we’ve gained fans from different areas.
MC: I know you are getting consistent radio play for your single Class Action Satisfaction. If you had to pick another single for on-air, what would it be?
KF: We’ve always seen Alone Now and 100 Years On from our newest EP as singles. We’ve also been writing a lot recently though, and are really excited about some of the new stuff that we haven’t had a chance to record yet.
MC: You’ve done Warped Tour, you’ve done Bamboozle… What’s the next big festival you are aiming for?
KF: Made in America. It would be awesome to play a major festival in the city that we got our start in.
MC: Any plans for a tour in the near future?
KF: We are working on it. We’re pretty much doing everything independently, so booking tours in new markets is tough, but we’re sticking with it.
MC: Kid Felix picks some sick covers. I’ve seen everything from Florence and the Machine to Muse. Do you guys fool around with other artists material at practice a lot? Or is this a once in a while type of thing?
KF: Usually it’s only a once in a while type of thing. We really try to focus on constantly writing new music, but there have been some instances where we had to learn a cover. When we have to though, we like to try to mix it up with our picks.
MC: You guys have seen it firsthand how important it is for bands to network. Is social media the best way to get in touch with you all?
KF: Definitely. We run all of our social media, and always try to answer everyone that contacts us. You can find us at: www.facebook.com/kidfelix / Twitter: @THEkidfelix / Instagram: @THEkidfelix.
MC: Rumor has it you are going to try to release a full length in the near future. How is the writing process going?
KF: It’s going good. We all write our songs together, so the writing process can be a little bit more tedious. We have a lot of half songs that we have to go back on and finish up.
MC: What usually comes first? The music or the lyrics?
KF: It’s a little of both. Like I said, everyone writes their own parts, so sometimes Jake will come to the band with some lyrics ready to go, and other times a band member will have something musically first.
MC: If you could give yourselves some advice when you were first starting out, what would it be?
KF: Work hard and be patient. You don’t always see the return on what you’ve been working for right away.
MC: Any advice to bands just starting out who don’t think they have a chance to make it?
KF: You’re not gonna make it with that attitude!
MC: Tell BiggerthanBeyonce readers why they should check out Kid Felix.
KF: We have a really energetic live show, unique music, and we’re all incredibly handsome.
By: Maria Ciezak
MARIA CIEZAK: Anna, I must admit that I am new to your music, but you are clearly a force to be reckoned with. You aren’t the “usual female artist”. You’re rock. You’re blues. How would you describe your sound?
ANNA ROSE: Thank you so much! I guess I would say my music is rock, blues, folk, with a little pop in there… But I do always reserve the right to grow and change as an artist. That’s what makes it exciting!
MC: I see you reside in New York, which has such a strong music and artistic scene. Do you find yourself embracing the environment as influence for your material?
AR: Yes, always. To be honest, the song Beautiful World is entirely influenced by the city of New York.
MC: Speaking of New York, you must be looking forward to May 21st at Rockwood. This is part of a two-week residency I understand?
AR: Yes! I’m always excited to perform & there’s nothing better than playing your hometown! I’ve played at Rockwood for many years now and it’s one of my favorite venues to perform at. It always feels like coming home when I play there.
MC: When I close my eyes and just listen, it seems as if you may be influenced from many of the greats of the past. Is this assumption accurate?
AR: You are most definitely correct. There are references to more current artists here and there, but I tend to trace things back to the source. There’s a joke among the “Anna Rose” family that I was born in the wrong era of music. They’re probably right.
MC: You recently premiered a video for your title track Behold a Pale Horse through Nylon Magazine, which I find to be a very interesting choice of outlet. How did that come about?
AR: I like to read Nylon and they do a great job promoting new music, so I was really excited that they wanted to premiere the video! Nylon and I have a lot in common. We’re both unique!
MC: Now that I have indulged myself into your musical diary, I can definitely sense maturity from your first record, Nomad. The new material seems a lot darker. Can you tell us a little bit about the process of writing and recording your sophomore release?
AR: Well, it was a difficult process, as I had a rough time getting through a bit of writer’s block, which I had never experienced, but once I got going again it was like the flood gates had opened. I think it seems like a darker record when you listen to both side-by-side, but for those listeners who have come to my live shows, it was a very natural progression. I always play the songs from Nomad a bit heavier than they were originally recorded, so it was really just a continuation of the direction I was always going. I would bet the third album will be even heavier.
MC: You have such strong pipes. How do you take care of your voice? Is it a process?
AR: Honestly, I never really worked on my voice until about six years ago. I practiced playing guitar all the time, but I never thought to train my voice. I took it for granted, which is insane! Now I have an incredible voice teacher, Wendy Parr, who helps me through the ups and downs. There are a lot of different variables — seasonal allergies, flying, feeling hoarse, etc. — so it’s all about riding that wave and staying emotionally present in the music. So, yes, it is absolutely a process and one that I love very much.
MC: You are extremely beautiful, but the irony is, I consider you a gem for your undeniable talents. Do you sometimes find it a struggle to not be just “another pretty face” (as the media would say)?
AR: This is a surreal question for me. I never really think of myself as a physical beauty and no one’s ever asked me this! I think I present myself as a musician before being a “pretty chick”, so it’s never been an issue. I do think it’s always a struggle for the music industry to see female musicians as equals to male ones though. Particularly in rock music. I could go on about that forever, but that’s another question for another day, my friend.
MC: Was music always the chosen profession?
AR: Absolutely. There was no choice.
MC: If you were granted a wish of your dream collaboration, who would it be with?
AR: I’ll assume you mean someone living today, so – Jack White. That guy is a genius and I think he comes from the same place as I do in terms of influences, recording style and wanting to push the boundaries of the industry like I do, so that would be incredible. On the other side, I think working with someone on the opposite side of the spectrum could produce really amazing music.
MC: You’ve done a lot already in your young career, yet I am sure you still want to achieve so much more. What’s next?
AR: My goal is to just continue moving forward as an artist, write better music, play better shows and record better albums. The physical goals are there, of course, but I like to focus on the artistic ones because it’s more fulfilling and less anxiety-provoking.
MC: For fans who haven’t experienced the phenomenon that you are yet, how would you welcome them aboard?
AR: In true “Anna Rose” style, I’d probably want to buy them a drink and talk about Jimi Hendrix with them all night, but not everyone’s into that… So I’d probably just say: “Thank you from the bottom of my little heart for listening to my music!”
By: Caitlin Hoffman
Monks of Mellonwah are back, and they’ve dived deeper than ever.
Don’t get me wrong: Neurogenesis was a wonderful second EP, a delightful sampling of what was to come. With their full-length album still underway, these creative geniuses couldn’t help but bequeath us with another experimental sunspot, this time in the form of a three-piece single (or three track EP, if you prefer). This latest composition is raging with emotion and weighty with haunting, melodic symphony.
Sky and The Dark Night offers layer upon layer of transcendent psychology. I so love it when music compels the listener to explore themselves. It’s amazing that human creation can be that powerful.
This awe-inspiring escapade boasts a depth and darkness their last EP had only begun to produce. From the first forty seconds onward, you’re frozen by the resounding, gothic tone. Each note births goosebumps on exposed skin, alive with angst, numbing with extremity. All three parts easily flow into each other, making you unsure where one ends and the other begins. This leaves you wondering, rendered helpless to a tidal wave of the brain.
Joe de la Hoyde (the guitarist/backing vocalist) speaks of what inspired this release:
“We are each riddled by our own curses and battle our own demons. Sky And The Dark Night, to me, is the journey from the beginning of our battles to their fruitless ends; the ups and downs, the triumphs and failures. It is the undying hope that somewhere along the way, we might find ourselves.”
By: Rob Brayl
Hailing from Vancouver, indie rockers Said The Whale are bursting with addictive flare. Having already made a dent in their Canadian homeland, the band (who won a JUNO Award for New Group Of The Year in 2011) is now aiming to leave a mark on the US and filming their attempt along the way (with a documentary properly titled Winning America).
Although the goal is to win over American listeners, co-founder Tyler Bancroft’s main focus is keeping it real (via Consequence Of Sound): “This time I went into the writing process with a mindset of ‘F*** everything, I’m just going to write what makes me happy.’”
The track on focus is the super fresh I Love You, an electric jam that’s perfect for bobbin’ the skull with the windows rolled down. Just in time for summer…
Said The Whale’s I Love You EP drops June 18th.
By: Maria Ciezak
iTunes has placed the spotlight this week on an artist by the name of Jake Bugg. I’m thrilled that his work is receiving attention, for he is the definition of a true musician. Single Lightning Bolt puts many artists on the charts to shame, showcasing raw talent.
His music style is very old-fashioned and vintage-sounding, which makes it even more intriguing for genuine music lovers like myself.
Take a listen to Lightning Bolt and judge for yourself.
By: Rob Brayl
Creating a jam that’s soothing and unfiltered comes Austin-based Alpha Rev. These Texas alt-rockers are creating ripples with their new video Sing Loud, which is not only beautiful, but a memorable imprint for those who have yet to experience their music.
The track is the first single off their new album, Bloom, available now.
This Spring, you can catch the band hitting the road with Nashville singer/songwriter Ben Rector.
Check out the video for Sing Loud below.
Totally infatuated with this song!
By: Caitlin Hoffman
It’s a wonderful thing when people use music not only to express, but to connect.
Let me shoot you a hypothetical. Say you and your bestest buddy get arrested with charges of marijuana trafficking conspiracy, and you are both required by law not to contact each other. (I know it’s specific- bear with me!)
Your buddy’s in NY; you’re in UT. When you hear the news of his sentencing (30 months in prison), what do you do? Mope, moan, bitch to no one? Or do you find a way to support him without breaking the rules?
Rob Reinfurt of The Weekenders did just that. Rather than fighting against the system and getting himself in more trouble, he channelled all his feelings into the song Chin Up, hoping the heartfelt message would reach his friend Eric through the grapevine.
It did. And it caught my attention too.
The tone of the song isn’t typical for the band in question. The Weekenders merit a smoky-eyed blues rock thrum, reminding one of The Black Keys or a stoned Led Zeppelin set. Chin Up is even more low-tempo than their usual repertoire, but it still shoots ripples on my brain-lake. You can feel the pain of separation in the lyrics and rusty twang of the guitar, and that makes it legitimate.
Rob express his motivation for writing the song: “I wanted him to know we’re all thinking of him and shining light his way.”
By: Maria Ciezak
MARIA CIEZAK: For those who aren’t aware of The Mowgli’s, can you let us know a brief backstory?
MATT DI PANNI of THE MOWGLI’S: Most of us met growing up in Calabasas. Some of us have been friends since elementary school. Colin and Josh are from the Midwest and we were all lucky enough to cross paths with them a few years back.
MC: It’s rare to find a band with eight members. Does it ever get crowded on stage?
MDP: It’s always crowded on stage with just the band, and then we generally ask the crowd to join us on stage… I think of it as a big house party and everyone is hanging out in the kitchen.
MC: How was the music scene starting out in California? I am sure there are a lot of bands out there struggling to make it.
MDP: The California music scene seemed easily receptive to our sound. Most people in Southern California had grown up with bands like The Beach Boys or anything from the 60s love era, so it’s easy for our Love Rock to feel familiar to them. The same goes for Northern California because of the beatnik and love movements in the 60s & 70s.
Bands do struggle in LA, but there’s so much amazing music coming from the city. We do our best to help all of our friends and their bands because we want people to hear their music too.
MC: What would you say you enjoy more, recording or live performances?
MDP: Live performance. Feeling the room swell with sweat and people dancing is one of the most intense feelings.
MC: San Francisco is becoming a massive hit. Every time I hear this song I want too dance. How do you feel about the success it’s been getting?
MDP: Really excited. I’m just really happy that people are getting the chance to hear what we truly believe. People around the world are feeling our positivity and I hope it’s making them inherently better towards each other.
MC: I also love the video for this track. Where did the concept come from?
MDP: We met Justin Baldoni, the director of the video, and we went back and forth on so many ideas within his vision. Justin wanted to create this one singular movement of random acts of kindness between the band and strangers. We worked with a choreographer to make the video flow perfectly, step by step. We had always wanted to make a video where we were doing good for other people and Justin really helped us actualize the scenario.
MC: What music is on your iPod right now?
MDP: As I answer these questions I am listening to Hearts Alive by Mastodon, but I’m currently very into Dead Sara, Lissie, The 1975, Code Orange Kids, Burnt Books, and Explosions in the Sky.
MC: If you weren’t playing music, what would you be doing?
MDP: My other passion used to be video games, so I would probably be involved in that industry. I used to test video games before we started touring.
MC: You guys will be on the road this spring and I will be catching you in New York. Any venues you are looking forward to the most?
MDP: NYC (Mercury Lounge), April 5th and Chicago (Schubas), April 12th.
MC: What’s next after the tour?
MDP: Home for about three days and then back on the road. We will be doing more touring and festivals throughout the entire summer. At some point in the next few months we will be releasing a full-length record with PhotoFinish Records, so expect that too!
MC: Can you provide any advice for bands just starting out?
MDP: Stay humble no matter what, don’t give up if its your dream, and don’t forget to remind the people you love that you love them every day.
MC: Describe The Mowgli’s sound in five words.
MDP: Fun and positive Love Rock.
By: Maria Ciezak
One of my favorite rock n’ roll groups, The Strokes, have released their newest single All the Time, which can be found on their new album Comedown Machine (available for purchase March 25th)! You may not remember, but this is the second track to be taken off of the group’s fifth studio release, as One Way Trigger dropped earlier this year as a free download. That track fell somewhat short, however, All The Time is picking up strong radio play and taking us back to The Strokes that we all know and love. The video reminds us why we were fans in the first place, taking us on a trip down memory lane. It’s a laid-back vibe full of tour footage that makes me yearn to see them on the road again.
I will be reviewing this record in it’s entirety upon release, but for now, let’s savor the appetizer.
Brand new video for All The Time below.
By: Caitlin Hoffman
Croatia’s hoarding a dangerous force.
Meet Cojones, a musical European landmine. This band’s taking no prisoners and offering no apologies, ready to hit the road face-first.
Though they’re commonly described as psychedelic/stoner rock, I also sense a mainstream element to their set. From the underground they may be, but they could easily frolic in popular appeal. (Opening up for the Foo Fighters, for instance.)
Their rhythm section defies gravity, dragging back vibrations and settling your cells. The guitars sedate; the vocals liberate.
Listening with an objective ear, you can’t see much that merits changing. They hit the targets at which they aim and wield their instruments like industrial bulldozers. (You’d be happy to be run over.)
Their most recent public stir was when they played Stoned From the Underground 2012, one of the biggest underground festivals in the EU. Since then, they’ve been brewing DIY spirits. Their 2012 album Bend to Transcend was handmade and hand-printed by the band members themselves.
And they’re vegan! (What can I say? This girl swoons for rockers with big hearts.)
Lie back; light up.
By: Maria Ciezak
One of my most recent favorite indie finds, Atlas Genius, have finally released their full-length debut record, When It Was Now. The band wrote, recorded and produced the album independently at a studio they built in their hometown of Adelaide, Australia. It’s mixed by Michael Brauer of Electric Lady Studios in New York City. These guys are incredible. You may recognize them from their popular radio smash, Trojans, which picked up national attention last year.
Currently, the band’s on the road with another indie rock gem, Imagine Dragons, and will also be playing South By Southwest in March.
Their latest single, Symptoms, was released on iTunes for free this week. I personally downloaded the whole album, and love every last second of it.
By: Rob Brayl
Certain songs are like fuel. They take you places. Others are like pain medication. They get you through shit. When a song contains both of these elements, it’s a serious addiction waiting to happen.
That’s what this song is for me: a freakin’ addiction. I literally cannot stop playing it; I feel it in my veins. And while the music video was disappointing and weird (to see it, go find it for yourself), the song stands on its own. It’s rad and without flaw.
Check out Radioactive by Imagine Dragons below.
Love! Love! Love!
By: Caitlin Hoffman
Need a tune to crack your windshield? Julietâ€™s Vice have got their hammers ready.
What can I say? Weâ€™re all entitled to kick back with some headbang-heavy ballads. Even if only once in a while. So when youâ€™re flipping through your records, on the hunt for the soundtrack of junkie superstars, take Julietâ€™s Vice for a spin.
Theyâ€™ve got that rock nâ€™ roll sleaze well-ripped, a glam grunge which only furthers their musical aggression. You want light shows and naughty notes? A time-swipe back to the eighties? Done, done and done.
If their songs were made of flesh, theyâ€™d wear heavy eyeliner and tight leather pants, kicking beer cans off the curb. A force to be reckoned with, to be sure.
These guys are dying to rock. I swear theyâ€™d come back as rotting zombies just to finish a show.